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On call tow truck driver is happy to help

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Lisa DeAngelis


It was a dark and stormy night in 1983. I was so enamored with Bucks County I was willing to drive an hour and a half each way to my job. On my way home from work, in a driving rain, my AMC Concord broke down. It was like a cat that car. It didn’t like the rain. I called for help and waited in the dark and the downpour.


A tow truck driver pulled alongside me, and when the driver got out, I could have sworn he had a halo and was bathed in supernatural light.


Fast forward to November 2023. My husband and I are stranded in the wilds of Doylestown. He has just hooked up a portable battery to our car in the hopes of getting it home. For the third time, he has told me to start it up only to be confronted with deafening silence.


“Are you alright there?” A man appears out of nowhere. My husband tells him the jump pack isn’t working. “Hold on,” he says and disappears, only to reappear moments later with a portable battery that does work. It needs to stay hooked up till we get home though. The man says, “Bring it back when you can.”


His name is Charles Coleman, Jr. and I’m amazed that he trusts strangers with his equipment. He is presently a tow truck driver for Fred Beans Towing, but he has driven in some form all his working life.

He has worked for FedEx delivering packages, for Dunbar Armored transporting money, and as an Uber/Lyft chauffeur, which is where he met his wife, Kristena.


In addition to working for the tow truck company, Charles (Chuck to his friends) works for Shipt, Doordash, and Instacart.


Chuck has been employed as a tow truck driver for five years now and he says by far the most challenging work he does is changing a tire or loading a car on the side of a highway while vehicles are flying past him at 60 or 70 miles per hour.


He is on call from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. every night and has gotten used to waking in the dark and going to bed in the daylight. “The only time it gets really difficult is in bad weather. A blizzard or flooding from heavy rain makes it especially challenging.”


Chuck says his wife can tell you about the other downside. “In my line of work, I’ve learned you can never plan anything. For example, after I’ve clocked out, my wife and I might plan to eat at a restaurant. It seems like that’s always when I get an emergency call.”


He’s quick to add, “But at least my wife understands and still loves me. She’s always willing to bring me dinner at the station.”


Despite the drawbacks, Chuck says, “I love my work because I get to meet new people every day and help them out – I love helping people – even though I know we both wish it could be under different circumstances.”


I ask him if he’s ever had any experiences that stand out in his memory. He tells me one time a couple’s vehicle broke down in Philadelphia on Interstate 76 on a very difficult stretch of roadway that few drivers would want to navigate.


“But since I know the area very well, I told them to sit tight. I was on my way. When I arrived, they were shocked I had actually shown up. Several services had told the couple they would come and had never arrived. They were surprised because I was the farthest away, but the only one to actually show up.”


There are two things Chuck would like people to know. “If you see a tow truck on the side of the highway, please slow down and move over.” And just as important, “If you see a person who looks lost or like they need help, stop and ask if they need a hand.”


Thanks, Chuck, for stopping to help even when you didn’t have to. I really appreciate it.


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